Russian Oligarch Connected To Kaupthing With Numerous Dubious Connections - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Russian Oligarch Connected To Kaupthing With Numerous Dubious Connections

Published January 6, 2011

A Russian tycoon lent about 2 billion USD by Kaupthing has allegedly had his hand in racketeering, and is close to Russia’s rich and powerful.
As reported, a copy of the minutes of a meeting at Kaupþing held in September 2008 shows that top managers there made the decision to loan out millions to a Russian tycoon, who was to in turn parcel the money out to people connected to Kaupþing.
The man in question, Alisher Ushmanov, received 270 billion ISK from Kaupthing for this purpose. But who is he?
CNN’s profile on the man describes him as a self-made oligarch with close, personal ties to the Kremlin. He is “estimated to be worth anywhere from $8 billion to $10 billion. His empire includes stakes in a metals and mining company (Metalloinvest), traditional media (the Moscow daily newspaper Kommersant), telecom (cellphone company Megafon), the British soccer club Arsenal, and, through DST, social-media companies.”
Indeed, MSNBC reports that Ushmanov has ties to some of Russia’s leading politicians. “Usmanov controls 35 percent of Digital Sky Technologies, the report stated. The report included comments by Russian Internet experts on Usmanov’s connection to the Kremlin, quoting one as saying ‘Alisher Usmanov is not an investor for whom state interests are an alien concept. …When his structures acquire a media asset, this is seen as a deal that has been done with the state’s approval’. The report added that Usmanov ‘is considered especially close to President (Dmitry) Medvedev. For a long time he was a top official of Gazprom where Medvedev was chairman.'”
Usmanov has most recently set his sights on Facebook, sinking 300 million USD into the social networking site. Gawker reports that he has been “accused by a former British ambassador of being a ‘gangster and racketeer’ and of close ties to mafia drug trafficking and, as we’ve reported previously, controversially tried to censor bloggers who linked to news of the accusations.”
His alleged ties to organised crime have been detailed by a number of sources, including the Atlantic Free Press, which alleged that his ties to high-ranking organised crime figures in Russia have helped him in his rise to power. Usmanov has vehemently denied these charges against him, and his sought to shut down any source reporting them.
How top managers at Kaupthing came to know Usmanov and trust him enough to lend him so much money is still unknown.
Related article:
Kaupþing Managers Gave Huge Loans Just Before Bank Crash
(Photo: forbes.com)


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